The 12 Course Tasting Menu of Business Excellence

Yes, 2022 is here – thankfully – and we can finally say good riddance to 2021.

You’ve already got a long list of things to do … executing the annual plan, inspiring your team, committing to a new level of productivity … and so it goes.

To give you a headstart, I’ve prepared a menu of 12 New Year treats … and since Santa has got some free time now, I asked him to deliver it. I hope will inspire you to Your Most Successful Year Ever.

Each one of these courses is worthy of a meal unto itself.

In fact, I hope you will savor every single morsel … and consider how each course complements the entire meal.

Each bite is timeless and will set you up for extraordinary success in 2022 … and beyond.

The 12 Part Tasting Menu

This 12 Part Tasting Menu replicates the most upscale restaurant – a few appetizers, a choice of entrees, a little dessert – all of which are irrefutable lessons I’ve learned from executives of both extraordinary capability and numbing incompetence.

This meal is a great way to grace your executive table for 2021.

1. It’s Never About You

It’s always about them. Customers, employees, suppliers … family, friends, colleagues.

Be clear about it and thrive.

Get it backwards?


2. If You Don’t Think You’ll Ever Have A Management Succession Problem, You Already Have One.

Accidents happen.

Disputes intensify.

Unexpected Events? Happen.

Start now so when that day arrives, you’re prepared.

It’s coming. Maybe sooner than you believe.

You can count on that!

3. “Incentives Are The Cornerstone Of Life”

Skip all of the egalitarian schemes.

Do you remember reading Freakonomics, the terrific book by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner? If you haven’t read it, you should.

When you do, you’ll learn how many incentive plans backfire and lead to unexpected and unwelcome results.

So, take a fresh look at your existing incentive plans.

Figure out if they’re working.

If not, fix them.

If you don’t have any, get some.

They work.

Believe it.

4. Forget About Economic News

Don’t allow the naysayers to take you off your game.

Press forward, be aggressive and instill a positive attitude throughout your organization.

George Bernard Shaw famously said,

“If all economists were laid end to end they would not reach a conclusion.”

So, focus on what you can control.

Change what you can.

Leave the rest to someone else.

5. Get Out Of The Discounting Mindset

Think …

  • Value,
  • Service, and
  • Delivery.

How can you defend your value proposition and find a way to nudge prices upward and increase value?

The discounting path is a descending staircase … and once you’re down there, it’s a helluva climb to get back up.

I like how John Ruskin describes it.

"It is unwise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money – that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is wise to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that, you will have enough money to pay for something better."

6. There’s No Such Thing As Over-Communicating.

Talking too much, yes.

Saying little, not good.

But reminding your colleagues, customers, employees and vendors …

  • what you stand for,
  • where you’re headed, and
  • how you’re going to get there?

Keep saying it.

Again and again.

You can’t say it often enough.

7. Cash is Still King.

Growth is a magic elixir in many ways.

It stimulates stronger relationships, greater buying power, opportunities for people development … and the list goes on.

It’s also a death trap if it’s not managed.

The unexpected lack of cash surprises many companies on a growth path more than those struggling to survive.

The latter group clearly understands the problem.

The first group doesn’t know there is one.

8. Banks And Accountants Are Valuable Allies.

Don’t go into battle without them.

If the relationship’s not working, check the mirror.

The solution is probably smiling back at you.

If it’s not, fix it!

9. Don’t Avoid The Critical Discussion About The “Business” Of The Family.

While this is an appropriate time to remember the “family” part of the “family business, the ”business” of the family is too often neglected.

You must nurture your family.

All the time.


But, if there is no business, there will be no family business.

It takes some tough decisions sometimes, but it’s the key to the legacy you’re trying to build.

Don’t forget about the engine that drives the family business.

The business.

10. Set Clear Expectations

It’s no wonder the results are disappointing. If your direct reports or team members aren’t “crystal clear” about what’s expected of them, don’t expect them to meet your expectations.

Be clear.

Be complete.

Give them the framework for their success.

11. If You’re Right, You’re Right. Make The Decision.

Most experienced executives know the right answer … but they often don’t like it.

As a result, they get wrapped around the axle and trapped in inaction justifying all the reasons they can’t decide.

Make the right decision.


You know what it is.

It will work out.

12. Have Fun Like Jimmy Buffett

He always seems to be on a beautiful tropical island, sipping margaritas, guitar in hand, sun baking the sand.

An occasional company picnic or an after-hours pub-crawl isn’t enough.

Neither is a ropes course or a team-building cook-off.

They’re the ruffles and flourishes.

The heart of a company is its values.

Its brain is a leadership team that’s serious about its mission but doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Make sure you take some time to have fun.

Just for the fun of it.

Question: What’s the Single Biggest Thing you’re doing to make 2022 your Best Year Ever? You can easily add your comment below. I look forward to. that dialogue and respond to every comment

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